a little brain teaser
- Attached is a JPEG photo (done by a hand-held camera, but nevertheless sufficient for our purposes; believe me, the actual document is no clearer!) of a facsimile on the verso of a modern papyrus, presumably of an ancient text. Id like to get opinions on several things: What text is on the facsimile? Where does it deviate from standard Greek texts, and why? What suggestions can you offer paleographically? Why is half of the text indented? Why is the handwriting so gloppy and bizarre? Finally, any hypotheses as to what, exactly, the modern facsimile is a copy of?
I have my thoughts, but decided to subject the document to this august body first before I made a fool of myself. Plenty of time to do that later!
Daniel B. Wallace
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts
- In a message dated 1/11/7 7:15:46 AM, Dan Wallace wrote:
<< can someone who does not know Greek--in fact, recreates the text
so poorly that he or she produces chicken scratches where letters
are meant to go--create a meaningful nomen sacrum?>>
I welcome the opportunity to risk making a fool of myself, for I do
not feel that we have at all exhausted the subject.
I was able to enter this study far enough along to read through all
the posts to date in a single sitting, knowing in advance (from its
presence in the Files) that P46 somehow would enter into the
It's interesting how many learned minds proffered their wisdom
before someone finally stated the obvious: this papyrus is a hand-
drawn pseudofacsimile of a precise sheet of a celebrated ancient
manuscript. Looking at the two images now, I can see that without a
Addressing some other questions that do not perhaps lend themselves
to so satisfactory a conclusion, I approached this mss as someone
fluently literate only in the Latin alphabet, but able to decipher
the standard forms of half a dozen other scripts.
What immediately leaped out to me was the word "POISON" in the
fourth line. Upon closer inspection, however, it turned out to be an
optical illusion; the 'N' is not really 'IS'. So my first theory,
that the scribe was literate in English, was tossed out.
Moving down that line, though, I can see that the scribe could not
have been familiar with Greek letters or Nomina Sacra. Each letter
is drawn as s/he best perceives it to have stood in the original,
and only incidently do these result in legible Greek characters.
Note that the superscript is broken in between the letters UU rather
than forming a solid line. Many characters are broken up in this way
due to the poor quality of the exemplar. 'H' is mistaken
for 'N', 'U' for 'O', etc.
In an interesting reverse of the usual process, note the NS for QU
in the 3rd line. The superscript is unbroken in the original, but
broken in the facsimile. This lends credence to the intermediate-
copy hypothesis. But looking more closely, it would appear that the
break may have been caused by a dirty lens on Dan Wallace's digital
camera. Suffice it to say, we are dealing with a multi-generational
I have one question: How can we be sure that this final copy is a
printout rather than a ms? The rough surface of papyrus would seem
to preclude such a consistent laydown of ink. Has any analysis been
done of the ink?